A water softener is a device that trades sodium ions for the calcium and magnesium ions in a household’s hard water. This improves the overall taste of clothes, dishes, or anything else that may have come into contact with hard water. Removing hard-water deposits from your water system is no easy task. However, removing the deposits shouldn’t be too tricky if you have a water softener by running the softened water through the unit’s salt removal tube. Removing these deposits will help improve your overall system efficiency and increase its lifespan. It can take anywhere from 24 hours up to several days to soften my water. It depends on how many gallons of water is passing through the salt bed every day. There are also some more expensive models available which can reduce this time down to 8 hours. The more water you have passing through the salt bed, the faster it will soften your water.
- Firstly, make sure that there is a softener installed in your house. A good rule of thumb would be to forget the one with a salt block inside, or if you have a system without a softener, check the back of your water meter for water-softener marks. In some systems, it will be combined with another device, such as a conditioner, while in other systems, it will be separate from that device. If you own a system with combined units, it may be easier to start by taking apart the conditioner and removing its salt block and then continue with this tutorial.
- If you own a water softener with a salt block inside, you will need to plug it up. The salt block should be located at the bottom of the tank or right below your softener. It will be visible if you take the tank off of its base. There should be a hose coming out of its left side attached to the softener system’s top portion. Place a hose clamp around this hose to plug off the flow of water from this salt block. After your salt block is plugged off, put your tank back on its base and ensure it is secure before continuing with this tutorial.
- Now that your salt block is plugged up, you will need to turn off the system. If you have a system that has an outside water meter, turn it off by turning the main water valve located at the street or inside your home to “OFF.” If this doesn’t work, consult the owner’s manual, which came with your unit, for further instructions. After you have turned off your system, unscrew the top portion of your tank. Inside you should see two hoses coming out of one side of the softener. You should also see a holder that holds these hoses securely in place. Remove the holder and attach both hoses to your salt block.
- Now you should have water flowing from your salt block and into the softener portion of the unit. Inside this unit, you will see a tube placed next to one of your water-passing hoses. This tube is designed to collect hard water deposits and is an integral part of the softener system. There should be some salt sediment on the bottom portion of this tube and some operational instructions that come with your unit. You may need to consult it for further troubleshooting. Take a small bucket or container with you to collect some of this sediment for testing purposes later on in your experiment. Put the tube back into its housing and screw it back into the unit.
- If you do not see any salt deposits on the bottom portion of the tube, that means that your system is working correctly. You can now turn your water system back on. Turn on your main valve located on the street or inside your home to “ON” again. Check for leaks around your tank (your softener should be bolted down. If not, secure it properly to ensure there are no leaks.), and let the water flow for about an hour. Look for leaks around your hoses or at where you plugged up your salt block.
- Now, you can check for any salt deposits on the bottom portion of the tube. If you see any deposits, use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean off your tube. It is a good idea to run a small amount of water through your softener before cleaning it out with an ultrasonic cleaner. Make sure not to block off your softener’s drain plug by putting too much water in it. This will cause damage to both the sink and the softener. While your machine is cleaning your salt deposit from your tube, check around for leaks and clean them up as soon as possible before they become more significant issues later on in this tutorial.
- After this, you can now readjust your softener. Loosen any hoses that are too tight around the salt block, and tighten those that are loose. You may want to make sure that all of your hoses are attached firmly to the unit as well as to each other using washers and screws.
- Now you should make sure that there is a sufficient flow of water going through your unit. If it doesn’t seem like it is working efficiently enough, ensure enough water is passed through the salt bed by placing a bucket underneath it or hooking up another machine from outside from which you can fill it with water. Some models need 20 gallons or more of water to be passed through the system every day. This will help it to work correctly.
- Now you can place the top portion of your tank back onto its base. Make sure there are no leaks around your hoses or where you plugged up your salt block. If there are leaks, fix them immediately before continuing further into this tutorial.
- You can now turn on your water valve located at the street or inside your home to “ON” again and wait for another hour for any residual water left in the system to drain out. Check to make sure there are no leaks, and if not, turn the water valve off again. If there are leaks, put some sealer around the seams of your softener base to make sure no water gets inside the softener.
- Now that it has been a day since you have turned your system on, you should see salt deposits forming on the bottom of the tube and around it. You should be able to perform further tests without incurring too many other costs efficiently. It is also possible to perform some maintenance on your system without taking the whole physical unit apart.
You should now quickly check your softener system for any problems that may occur with time. If you follow these simple steps, you will minimize the wear and tear on your equipment and make sure it works properly before problems arise.